|System: X360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Proper Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Flock! features a neat look that's clean, bright, and upbeat. The various components of each level are visually stitched together (yes, you can actually see the stitches and the frayed edges of pieces on the outer edges) like a patchwork quilt made of multi-textured fabrics, which is an interesting idea that gives the already buoyant game world additional personality.
Environment color themes adjust to reflect seasonal motifs, some nice lighting effects kick in when day turns to night, and the water surrounding each level is ripples with translucent waves. All of the animals are particularly likeable and are well-designed to exhibit quirks from their species. While the cacophony of squeals, squawks, moos, and other barnyard sounds can grow to be a bit much after awhile, the game's music is quirky and playful. Altogether, the presentation is quite appealing.
Moving your ship around and controlling its different processes is very simple and easy to handle, but herding masses of frequently uncooperative beasts through intricate and dangerous mazes while under pressure feels frustrating and futile at times. Rounding up the necessary herd and then delivering it safely to the Mother Flock!er is often a huge pain in the ass. Don't be confused; this is by design - and fun, for the most part. Animals will run off in random directions, fall off cliffs, or become wedged into areas that are difficult to maneuver them out of. Other times they'll be snatched up by carnivorous beasts, accidentally stomped out with your depressor beam, or crushed by rolling debris. The unwieldiness of controlling many little animals with a UFO beam is all part of the challenge. Whether or not some players find it to be a bit much depends on their level of patience.
Content-wise, Flock! doesn't disappoint. Every level you beat unlocks new elements that can be used to design, build, and share your own levels using the same powerful map editor the developers created the game with. The single-player campaign is has a ton of levels and introduces lots of new gameplay tweaks along the way, even though stages do tend to feel similar over time. Multiplayer co-op mode also has a decent number of missions that let you heard your Flock! with a pal. Flock! has a few quirks that some players may not fully appreciate, but this is the type of high-caliber title we'd like to see more of on XBLA.
CCC Staff Contributor